What do you do on a rainy, windy Springtime Saturday in Portland? Why, you put on the plaid and take it to Culmination Brewing Company for the sold-out, “2nd Annual Baker’s Dozen Coffee Beer and Doughnut Festival.”
This awesome festival stirs together the three things Portland does best: coffee, beer, and doughnuts. In a city with as many coffee roasters as there are craft brewers, the marriage of the two brews is a natural pairing. Tie that in with doughnuts, and you have a trifecta of mouth watering goodness! Admission was capped at 400, and believe it or not, all 400 tickets were sold two days before the event. We know Portlanders love their craft brews, coffee, and doughnuts so it was probably no surprise that this event would sell out. Paid admission included a well designed souvenir beer glass, 4-oz samples of all 13 coffee beers, as well as samples of all 13 doughnuts. New this year, was the Doughnut Decoration Station for kids and non-kids alike. For just $2, you could design your own doughnut and know that your donation went to Friends of the Children, an organization that provides commitment assistance to at-risk youth. If doughnuts weren’t your thing, Culmination’s chef, Carter B. Owen, came up with a few breakfast sandwiches that looked delicious.
There were a couple doughnut offerings that had an added element of fire to them. Both Donut Byte Labs and Donut-O-Rama, employed the fire torch to craft their doughnuts. Donut Byte Labs’, “French Toast” was three layers of melted sugar and flame toasted cinnamon, topped off with their, made from scratch, cream cheese icing. Donut-O-Rama’s, “Crème Brulee” was a donut hole, rolled in a thick sugar coating, then torched to get that familiar crème brulee crust. Tonalli’s Donuts & Cream had a chocolate banana doughnut where the banana was mixed into the batter, which made for a pleasant, light banana flavor. Instead of maple on this buttermilk bar, it was topped with a generous amount of chocolate. For the chocolate lover, Coco Donuts had the “Hole in the Dark” which was a chocolate cake donut hole with espresso then rolled in cocoa. Pip’s Mobile brought out their cart to make their “Honey & Sea Salt” on site for the duration of the event. This delicate offering featured local raw honey and pink himalayan sea salt.
There was also what is believed to be the world’sfirst Collaboration Doughnut. Collaboration beers–that is, beers made by two or more brewers–aren’t new so they thought it would be fun to come up with a doughnut collaboration between the roaster, the brewer, and the baker. With ideas coming from Penny from Delicious Donuts, Marissa from Coco Donuts, Victor from Tonalli’s Donuts & Cream, Dieter from Donut Byte Labs, and the actual baker himself, Steve from Staccato Gelato, they crafted an old-fashioned buttermilk doughnut made with Culmination Chocolate Stout, Ole Coffee espresso to make a Vietnamese coffee glaze, then topped with candied bacon bits. Bacon seems to be a popular ingredient on doughnuts these days so the line was long for this tasty treat.
Of course, the event wasn’t just about sampling delicious doughnuts; there were also 13 specially crafted beers to partake. It’s easier sampling 13 food items in an afternoon then it is sampling 13 beers, so many were missed. At the recommendations of many, we started with something a little different, the “Caffe” from Stung Fermented. This was a partnership with Caffe Umbria to take their cold brewed coffee and infuse it into a sparkling mead. The result was a gluten-free mead that was crisp, fragrant, and flavorful. Next was the “Napoleonic” from Labrewatory featuring Coava Coffee’s Santa Luzia from Brazil. This Imperial Brown Ale was brewed specifically for this event and gets its inspiration from the famous French coffee. It had notes of caramel, and toffee with an earthiness that nicely toned down the sweetness. “Double Stack” was a nice breakfast stout from Great Notion Brewing featuring coffee from Clutch Coffee. This stout was aged with a “ridiculous” amount of Vermont maple syrup; however, it did not have a strong sweet finish. The coffee and maple syrup balance was just right. The finale was “Black House” from Modern Times Beer using their own coffee with beans from Ethiopia and Sumatra. This oatmeal stout bursts with coffee aroma and flavor. Modern Times is one of the only breweries in the world to roast their own coffee. This stout had a delicious chocolate espresso bean finish that was the perfect choice to finish out the day.
You might think that a 400 capacity event would have long lines, and unhappy people, but this one was quite the opposite. People were jovial, interested in what they were tasting, asking questions of the vendors, enjoying the live music, and company of their friends. I am sure those that missed out by not getting a ticket before it sold out will be the first to buy next year. Judging from the popularity of this one, I would say there will be another. We might be a health conscious city, but Portland does love their beer, coffee, and doughnuts!